Wisdom the Albatross is the world’s oldest known living wild bird at age 62, and she produced a healthy chick that hatched Sunday. Wisdom was named by scientists who tagged her ankle at Midway Atoll at the end of the Hawaiian Island chain in 1956.
Scientists are surprised, noting that the average Laysan Albatross only lives to be half as old as Wisdom. But the tracking tags haven't been perfectly reliable. They fall off after 20 years, and don't always get replaced before that happens. Wisdom has been through six tags in her life.
Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the Bird Banding Laboratory at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center says “half the birds could be 60 years old,” he said. “These birds could be much older than we think.”
Nineteen of 21 albatross species are threatened with extinction. Long-line fishermen throw bait in the ocean, but they lure albatrosses as well as fish, and the birds get hooked and drown when they land on the water to eat.